Portal hypertension associated with liver cirrhosis increases the risk of postoperative complications after liver resection for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study assessed the role of preoperative hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) assessment in identifying portal hypertension.
All patients who underwent liver resection for HCC between January 2000 and December 2009 at the Department of General Surgery, Medical University Vienna, were analysed retrospectively. HVPG was assessed prospectively in a subset of patients before liver resection. The influence of this assessment on postoperative complications was investigated.
A total of 132 patients were enrolled, of whom 39 underwent HVPG measurement. Mean(s.d.) HVPG was 6·4(3·0) and 4·3(1·4) mmHg in patients with and without postoperative complications respectively (P = 0·028). Complication rates differed significantly at a cut-off HVPG value of 5 mmHg: 11 of 21 patients with a gradient of 1–5 mmHg developed complications versus 12 of 14 patients with a higher value (P = 0·045). HVPG exceeding 5 mmHg was associated with worse liver fibrosis (P = 0·004), higher rates of postoperative liver dysfunction (5 of 13 versus 1 of 18; P = 0·022) and ascites (7 of 14 versus 3 of 21; P = 0·022), and a longer hospital stay (median (range) 11 (7–26) versus 8 (4–20) days; P = 0·034). Overall postoperative morbidity did not differ between patients who had preoperative HVPG assessment and those who did not (P = 0·142).
Preoperative HVPG assessment predicted liver fibrosis and postoperative complications. Copyright © 2011 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.